Muller hasn't stopped 'Canes' from losing
LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
|The Hurricanes continue to struggle under new head coach Kirk Muller. (Brian Donogh/QMI Agency/Files)
TORONTO - Kirk Muller wants his Carolina Hurricanes to shut their eyes to the current NHL standings and open their minds about where the last-place team could go.
That might be hard for the players, winning just once so far for their new coach (1-5), but it’s easy to see why the motivational magic of Muller brought him so far as a player and now a coach.
“I just said to the players. I’m not interested in what their plus-minuses are, their season, their goals,” Muller explained Monday after his club practised at the MasterCard Centre.
“Let’s just get through this (transition from the firing of head coach Paul Maurice) together. Be aggressive, play hard. I don’t want anyone afraid to make mistakes. We’re in the process of seeing who can play a high-tempo game and who can’t. They guys are buying into it, we just have to be more consistent.”
By Tuesday night against the Leafs, Muller will have had the Canes on the road four days since their last game in Winnipeg, believing the practice and bonding to be crucial to putting his mark on the team.
“It was good timing,” Muller said of the schedule. “I really threw some different looks at the guys and we didn’t have time to practise. We’re kind of learning in the games as we go.
“Since I took the position, I’ve really, really enjoyed Eric Staal. He’s been the true leader so far. I asked him just to be my hardest working guy. He doesn’t care who he plays with. He’s a plus player and he’s putting up some points.
“We have a good, young core skill group, with Jamie McBain, Justin Faulk and Jeff Skinner to build with. We’ll get this thing turned around. We’re thin in numbers now. But we get everybody (healthy) and we’re a good club.”